One of the highlights of Wesley Korir’s visit to Los Angeles last week was taking him to Banning High School to visit with their 60 SRLA kids training for the Honda LA Marathon. If you’re not familiar with SRLA, it stands for Students Run Los Angeles. This important non-profit organization trains nearly 3,000 at-risk youth over a 6-month period to run the full LA Marathon each year. Of the kids who finish the Marathon, 92% go on to post-secondary education. That’s a staggering statistic, and testament to the power of running as a teacher of life lessons.
So it was a pleasure to introduce Wesley to these kids. We had previously been to the Honda headquarters in Torrance to speak with the Honda running club. The good folks at Honda are also huge supporters of SRLA, so some of them came with us to Banning High School. Wesley asked me what he should say to the kids, and I asked that he just “tell his story.” Wesley is so endearing as a person, and his story so interesting, it’s impossible not to be inspired by him. Furthermore, because he lives and trains in Louisville, Kentucky–where he earned a degree in biology–he’s completely fluent in English.
He really had the kids’ attention, and afterward they lined up for half an hour while he signed autographs. Then they were off to practice on the track. And Wesley went out and ran with them. He couldn’t help himself. The kids loved it as Wesley went from group to group to get a lap in with almost everyone. He then stood on the track and high-fived every one of them as they ran by. It was a day that I hope will stay with all of the kids for quite some time.